Thank you to church councils, leaders and clergy for the ways in which you have been faithful in giving to the Montana Synod during the year! The faithful giving by members to your congregations and the faithful giving of your congregation to the work of the larger church makes a difference –here in Montana and northern Wyoming, around the ELCA and around the world! There are many exciting and faithful things happening around the Synod these days. In a few weeks, another class of LPA’s will begin their studies. In the last weeks, many congregations gathered to engage in creative and exciting ways to share being the church at work in the world through “God’s Work, Our Hand’s”, hundreds of youth from around the Synod were shaped and encouraged as they attended the ELCA Youth Gathering in July in Houston, and Bishop Crist and a small group from the Synod returned just last week from a powerful companion synod visit to Bolivia and helped the church there celebrate 80 years of ministry.
As I reflect on the ways in which the church—both the larger church and local congregations make a difference in the world, I wonder what you see and how you see what is happening in your local congregation making a difference. Please call me or send me a quick email sharing what you have been noticing. The reality is that God is faithful, stirring the waters, raising up leaders, encouraging and inspiring us and others to be the church in mission for the sake of the world.
All that reflecting also prompts me to think about stewardship and how important it is to share the stories of what God is doing as we encourage people to be faithful and generous in their giving. As we enter into the fall season, you may be thinking about how to talk about stewardship and generosity in your congregation. Luther Seminary in St. Paul hosted another “Rethinking Stewardship” conference in July and the videos of the presenters are available on YouTube under “2018 Rethinking Stewardship”. I commend them to you. Many of the videos are short enough that you might use them during a church council meeting or adult forum. I especially liked the video by Pastor Larry Strenge, the DEM in the SW MN Synod who shares about “cultivating” as a way of thinking about stewardship, especially in rural areas. Several others are also helpful to get you thinking about encouraging generosity in the place you serve.
May God strengthen and bless you! Contact me if you have questions or concerns.
Pastor Peggy Paugh Leuzinger
Director for Evangelical Mission